15 Feb 2012

First Bite: Pound The Hill’s Bistro & Wine Bar

Guest contributor Micky is a Capitol Hill resident and foodie who writes restaurant reviews of the DC area and beyond.   This post also appeared on her blog What Micky Eats…

Eggplant Ratatouille: roasted eggplant filled with ratatouille in a fresh basil broth with brioche and Parmesan cheese. Paired with: Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc. Photo by Micky.

The secret is out! Known locally as an organic coffee shop, Pound The Hill has recently opened their doors in the evening as a bistro and wine bar where customers can be seated for table service starting at 5pm.  Owner Karl Johnson and Chef Jonathan Taub have built an awesome and value friendly menu around their new wines and beer with the help of many local experts.  Featuring an eclectic global array of items, Pound The Hill’s Bistro & Wine Bar is a charming dinner addition to the neighborhood. 

With full dinner service available for just under two weeks now, I decided to check them out for a first impression.  We arrived around 6pm and were seated immediately in the hallway area where tables are limited, yet cozy and away from the coffee shop atmosphere.  In renovating this space in 2011, Pound made an effort to preserve the historical charms of the structure. They cleaned and exposed timbers, touched up brick walls and even restored tin ceiling panels.

Inspired by their travels and love of a wide range of ethnic flavors and regional cuisines, the menu is heavy with French influences as seen in the ratatouille, coq au vin, and cordon bleu entrées.  Listed below each item on the menu is a suggested wine or beer pairing.  After we placed our orders, our extremely polite server, Shree, brought out the chef’s amuse bouche with our drinks – a spoon with a tiny bite of pork pâté and a red wine gelée-like confit on top.  It was a nice start to the meal that reminded us of a cross between liverwurst and meatloaf.  For starters, we chose the Cordon Bleu Croquettes – a delightful morsel of warm, rich, classic French flavors.  The chunks of chicken and cheese were perfectly cooked in the middle and the light mustard sauce provided a nice tang.

I opted for the Eggplant Ratatouille as my main course, which was a great choice for DC Meat-Free Week.  Stuffed with stewed vegetables in a fresh basil broth with brioche and Parmesan cheese, the vegetables were crisp and flavorful, yet the broth was cold prompting an immediate reaction of oddness when contrasted with the hot veggies.  The dish was light and filling at the same time and paired beautifully with the Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc. Keith devoured the Braised Brisket that he chose and found the portion of beef and potatoes very satisfying.  Overall, the food tasted great and each dish was presented in a lovely way that left us with happy bellies.

Similar flavors are present on the lunch menu, offering a great alternative to the standard sandwich or pizza offerings in the area.  The brunch menu, available only on Sundays from 10am to 2pm, also looks enticing with Korean, Mexican and Dutch twists.  Catering is available and convenient for offices on the Hill.  As their motto states, Pound The Hill is “not just any ordinary shop”.  I highly recommend you check them out for both serious organic coffee as well as wallet-friendly eclectic noshes.

For more photos, see What Micky Eats…


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